Monday, May 13, 2013

More than can be measured

Hi There,

I'm writing this today to start to synthesize a very large pool of knowledge. If there is one thing I hope you can take away from reading this article it is that our own realization of our potential has only begun. I hope that reading this article will help you start see yourself and those around you as individuals with limitless potential if you haven't already begun to do so.

Want to get higher test scores? Let's start by looking a little at tests as goals!

IQ is not of a set quantity. The IQ test is just a vague measuring tool that is over 100 years old and is used to measure intelligence.

This is what Alfred Binet the creator of the IQ test back in 1905 said "...[it] does not permit the measure of intelligence, because intellectual qualities are not superposable, and therefore cannot be measured as linear surfaces are measured." He also said that a persons IQ is not of a fixed quantity.

This leads us to the question, if the creator of the IQ test said it couldn't measure intelligence why did he create it in the first place?

The answer is of course he didn't create it to measure intelligence, he created it as a diagnostic tool.

Yet many still use it as a measuring tool! I saw one we known school in Jakarta that even had an Elite Class and the sole determiner of whether or not a student received entry into that Elite Class was IQ.

Want to raise your IQ test score? Just buy this book or any book full of exercises similar to the exercises used in the IQ test. You'll raise your IQ! Simple! This is nothing new, my father did it back in his college years. He wasn't happy with his IQ test score so he bought a similar book, worked hard on understanding and training for the test and yes got a much better score.

Does this mean he was smarter or more intelligent after getting a better score? Of course not! It just meant he could better sit the test.

The IQ test is a good example of tests in general in the sense that we are diagnosing the amount of knowledge or ability obtained by the individual in certain areas. Teaching for tests is then akin to a doctor receiving  a patient and after "testing" him gives him a score (kudos to Ken Robinson for this example). Does this cure the illness? No! Does it benefit the patient? Of course not! So if it's ridiculous for you to go to a doctor for a 'score' it should be equally ridiculous for us to make scoring well in tests the goal of education.

Ridiculous as it may be, this is the habit we have fallen into in our educational institutions. We should really keep reminding ourselves what the goals of education are in the first place. It certainly isn't to arm our future citizens with a bunch of numbers to wave around.

Here's a list of goals to ponder about (taken from 'Big Picture' by Dennis Littky and Samantha Grabelle):

  • be lifelong learners
  • be passionate
  • be ready to take risks
  • be able to problem-solve and think critically
  • be able to look at things differently
  • be able to work independently and with others
  • be creative
  • care and want to give back to their community
  • persevere
  • have integrity and self-respect
  • have moral courage
  • be able to use the world around them well
  • speak well, write well, read well, and work well with numbers
  • truly enjoy their life and their work.

None of these goals include "getting good scores" because scores are only something we should use to help diagnose how well the individual is travelling towards goals like those listed above.

So how does this all relate to limitless potential?

If we only teach what we can test, we are limiting our students potential. If we only study what we can recall on demand, we are limiting our own potential. The mind is a far superior tool than we give it credit for. I will give you a few examples.

In a university workshop on memory tactics a group of students were asked to memorize some pictures flashing onto the screen. The issue here wasn't only the number of the pictures but the speed. Approximately 100 pictures were flashed in a period of only 30 seconds or so. Of course the students laughed and proclaimed that this was a impossible task. Yet when shown pairs of pictures at slower speeds (one being of the pictures they saw before along side a new picture) they had little problem getting a high success rate in picking out the one they had seen before. This shows the huge power of the subconscious. Even though they couldn't consciously recall the pictures when asked, their subconscious had still registered them.

This is only the tip of the iceberg, through recent developments in neuroscience we are starting to realize the true learning potential of our minds. We are starting to pick up at why so many alternative learning methods 'felt so right' it's because most of them were in so many more ways than we ever realized.

If we can start to consider more the whole human being and the whole human experience in learning then we can start to truly realize the vast possibilities of human potential.

Looking forward to exploring this more with you soon!

Kindest regards,